From Sun to Socket: Understanding the Solar Energy Process

28th Feb 2024

Understanding how solar panels transform sunlight into electricity is not just fascinating—it’s essential for appreciating the value of adopting solar energy. In this guide, we’ll explore the journey of solar energy “from sun to socket”, highlighting the technology Sheerwater Solar employs to harness this clean, renewable power source.

The Basics of Solar Energy

Solar energy works by converting light from the sun into electricity. This process, known as photovoltaics (PV), involves several key components, each playing a crucial role in generating usable power for homes and businesses.

  • Solar Panels: The most visible part of a solar energy system, panels capture sunlight and convert it into direct current (DC) electricity.
  • Inverters: They convert DC electricity into alternating current (AC), the type of electricity used by most appliances and the grid.
  • Mounting Systems: Securely attach the solar panels to the roof or ground.
  • Metering: Measures the electricity produced by the system and the amount consumed from or fed back into the grid.

Capturing Sunlight: The Role of Solar Panels

Solar panels, or modules, are the frontline warriors in the battle for a cleaner planet. They are made up of many solar cells, usually made from silicon, which have the property of generating electricity when exposed to light.

How Solar Cells Work:

  • Step 1: Sunlight hits the solar panel.
  • Step 2: The cells absorb light energy, knocking electrons loose in the silicon.
  • Step 3: These free electrons flow, creating DC electricity.

Sheerwater Solar uses high-efficiency panels that maximise this effect, ensuring more of the sun’s energy is captured and converted.

Converting Energy: The Inverter’s Task

The DC electricity produced by solar panels isn’t directly usable by most home appliances or for export back to the grid. This is where inverters come in.

The Inversion Process:

  • Input: DC electricity from the panels.
  • Transformation: The inverter changes DC into AC electricity.
  • Output: AC electricity is now ready for home use or feeding into the grid.

Sheerwater Solar selects inverters based on efficiency, reliability, and smart features, such as monitoring capabilities, ensuring you get the most out of your solar system.

Mounting Systems: Securing Panels in Place

A robust mounting system is critical for the long-term performance of solar panels. They must withstand the elements while keeping panels optimally angled towards the sun.

Types of Mounting Systems:

  • On-Roof: Popular for retrofitting solar panels onto existing roofs.
  • In-Roof: Panels replace part of the roof, offering aesthetic and protective benefits.
  • Ground-Mounted: An alternative when roof mounting is not feasible.

Sheerwater Solar provides bespoke mounting solutions tailored to the specific needs of each property, ensuring durability and performance.

Monitoring Performance: The Role of Metering

Solar metering technology tracks how much electricity your solar system produces and how much of it you consume or export.

Key Functions:

  • Measuring Production: Understanding how much power your panels generate.
  • Consumption vs. Export: Identifying your energy use versus what you send back to the grid.

This data is crucial for optimising energy use and maximising savings. Sheerwater Solar integrates advanced metering into our installations, offering real-time insights into your system’s performance.

The Journey of Solar Energy: From Panels to Usage

The journey from capturing sunlight to powering a kettle is both simple and complex. It embodies human ingenuity in harnessing nature’s bounty for our needs. Here’s a concise breakdown:

  1. Capture: Solar panels absorb sunlight, creating DC electricity.
  2. Convert: Inverters transform DC into AC electricity.
  3. Secure: Mounting systems keep panels optimally positioned.
  4. Monitor: Metering technology tracks production and usage.
  5. Use: Electricity powers your home or is exported for others to use.

Why Choose Sheerwater Solar?

  • Expertise and Experience: Years of installing solar systems in diverse settings.
  • Quality Components: Only the best panels, inverters, and mounting systems.
  • Tailored Solutions: Every installation is customised to meet the unique needs of the property and the preferences of the homeowner.
  • Comprehensive Service: From initial consultation to post-installation support, we’re with you every step of the way.

Solar energy offers a path to a sustainable future, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and lowering our carbon footprint. Understanding the process “from sun to socket” not only demystifies how we can turn sunlight into electricity but also highlights the sophisticated yet entirely accessible technology that makes it possible.

Sheerwater Solar is dedicated to advancing this technology and making solar power a cornerstone of energy consumption in homes and businesses alike. By choosing solar, you’re not just powering your home; you’re investing in a cleaner, greener planet for future.

Get in touch today

We'll get back to you within 24 hours.

Reaching out to Sheerwater Solar is straightforward and hassle-free. Whether you’re interested in solar panels for your home or business in Woking, we’re here to guide you every step of the way. You can contact us directly by calling 01932 627 555 or by sending an email to

Alternatively, fill in our online form for a swift response.

What happens next?

In most cases, we’ll need to conduct an on-site survey at your property to assess the feasibility and provide you with a tailored quote. This visit allows us to understand your specific needs and explore the potential for renewable energy solutions. Following the survey, we’ll discuss the best options for integrating solar energy into your property, including detailed costs and the installation process.

We’re excited to assist you on your journey to renewable energy and look forward to hearing from you.